The making of the tabernacle The liberality of the people restrained.
- The readiness and zeal with which these builders set about their work, the exactness with which they performed it, and the faithfulness with which they objected to receive more contributions, are worthy of our imitation. Thus should we serve God, and our superiors also, in all things lawful. Thus should all who are in public trusts abhor filthy lucre, and avoid all occasions and temptations to covetousness. Where have we the representation of God's love towards us, that we by love dwell in him and he in us, save in Emmanuel? ( Matthew 1:23 ) . This is the ( 2 Corinthians. 5:18 2 Corinthians. 5:19 ) the design of the "tabernacle of witness," a visible testimony of the love of God to the race of men, however they were fallen from their first state. And this love was shown by Christ's taking up his abode on earth; by the Word being made flesh, Joh. 1:14 , wherein, as the original expresses it, he did tabernacle among us.
Exodus 36:1-38 . OFFERINGS DELIVERED TO THE WORKMEN.
1. Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise-hearted man, &c.--Here is an illustrious example of zeal and activity in the work of the Lord. No unnecessary delay was allowed to take place; and from the moment the first pole was stuck in the ground till the final completion of the sacred edifice, he and his associates labored with all the energies both of mind and body engaged in the work. And what was the mainspring of their arduous and untiring diligence? They could be actuated by none of the ordinary motives that give impulse to human industry, by no desire for the acquisition of gain; no ambition for honor; no view of gratifying a mere love of power in directing the labors of a large body of men. They felt the stimulus--the strong irresistible impulse of higher and holier motives--obedience to the authority, zeal for the glory, and love to the service of God.
3. they (the workmen)
received of Moses all the offering, which the children of Israel had brought, &c.--It appears that the building was begun after the first few contributions were made; it was progressively carried on, and no necessity occurred to suspend operations even for the shortest interval, from want of the requisite materials.
they brought yet unto him free offerings every morning, &c.--Moses, in common with other Oriental magistrates, had his morning levees for receiving the people performing his magisterial duties that the people brought unto him freewill offerings every morning. Some who had nothing but their manual labor to give would spend a great part of the night in hastening to complete their self-imposed task before the early dawn; others might find their hearts constrained by silent meditations on their beds to open their coffers and give a part of their hoarded treasure to the pious object. All whose hearts were touched by piety, penitence, or gratitude, repaired with eager haste into the presence of Moses, not as heretofore, to have their controversies settled, but to lay on his tribunal their contributions to the sanctuary of God ( 2 Corinthians 9:7 ).
5. they spake unto Moses, saying, The people bring much more than enough, &c.--By the calculations which the practised eyes of the workmen enabled them to make, they were unanimously of the opinion that the supply already far exceeded the demand and that no more contributions were required. Such a report reflects the highest honor on their character as men of the strictest honor and integrity, who, notwithstanding they had command of an untold amount of the most precious things and might, without any risk of human discovery, have appropriated much to their own use, were too high principled for such acts of peculation. Forthwith, a proclamation was issued to stop further contributions [ Exodus 36:6 ].
35. he made a veil of blue--the second or inner veil, which separated the holy from the most holy place, embroidered with cherubim and of great size and thickness.
37. made an hanging for the . . . door--Curtains of elaborately wrought needlework are often suspended over the entrance to tents of the great nomad sheiks, and throughout Persia, at the entrance of summer tents, mosques, and palaces. They are preferred as cooler and more elegant than wooden doors. This chapter contains an instructive narrative: it is the first instance of donations made for the worship of God, given from the wages of the people's sufferings and toils. They were acceptable to God ( Philippians 4:18 ), and if the Israelites showed such liberality, how much more should those whose privilege it is to live under the Christian dispensation ( 1 Corinthians 6:20 , 16:2 ).